Cancellation Fee?

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KodiakRV

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We made a reservation at an RV resort based on their advertising & review in the Trailer Life Directory and on their web site.  They immediately charged our credit card the full amount of the 3-night stay.  A few days later we had to cancel the reservation.  "No problem.  It's done."  A couple of days later my wife called again just to confirm the cancellation and to confirm they had refunded our money.  "Well... we sent you a letter."  When my wife pressed them on what that meant, they said they were not refunding any money.  They were keeping $40 outright and giving us the rest as  credit for "the next time you stay here."

I don't have a whole lot of problem with such a cancellation policy, IF they are up-front about it when you make your reservation.  But in this case neither their advertising nor their web site mentioned that they had any cancellation policy whatsoever.  When we made the reservation, they did not mention any cancellation policy.  They did say they would send us a "confirmation letter" which we never received.  But even if that had had any cancellation policy spelled out, it would have been long after the fact.  I can't help but wonder how many folks would make a reservation if they were told up-front, "We're going to take your money now.  If you need to cancel, we'll give you partial credit towards a future date."  I don't think we would have.

Upon my wife's dogged insistance, they are refunding part of the charge to our credit card.  They are keeping $40, though.  Would I be unreasonable in going to the credit card company and asking for the $40 back also? 

Is this type of cancellation policy typical for an RV resort?  Is having a hidden cancellation policy typical?

Thanks for letting me rant.
 

Wendy

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You are NOT being unreasonable and you are NOT ranting. If you cancelled  more than 3 days out (you didn't say how far out you cancelled?) than this campground is absolutely wrong. I'd call them again and DEMAND a full refund and advise them that if they don't, you will be contacting Trailer Life with your complaint. Fight with them, argue with them, contact Trailer Life, and call your credit card company and dispute the charge.

Wendy
Pahrump, Nevada
 

Tom

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I've had campgrounds let me know up front that they have a 'no refund' cancellation policy and I still went ahead and made the reservation. However, we rarely make any reservations.

In the case you described, a call to your credit card company might be in order.
 

Jeff

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We seldom make advance reservations partly because during high season many campgrounds charge a day or more cancellation fees. We also do not like to be committed to a specific schedule.

When we do reserve we ALWAYS ask what the cancellation policy is before we give them a CC number.
 

KodiakRV

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Jeff Cousins said:
...
When we do reserve we ALWAYS ask what the cancellation policy is before we give them a CC number.

THAT's a shore-nuff-lesson-learned out of this experience.  :(
 

KodiakRV

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wendycoke said:
You are NOT being unreasonable and you are NOT ranting. If you cancelled  more than 3 days out (you didn't say how far out you cancelled?) than this campground is absolutely wrong...

In this case, it was five days out and two days after making the reservation.
 

Wendy

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mfa said:
In this case, it was five days out and two days after making the reservation.

Should not have been a problem, especially if they didn't tell you there was a cancellation policy in place. I'd call my credit card company and dispute the charge.
 

John From Detroit

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Have you ever read the last line of most any warranty... It says "You may have other rights which vary from state to state"

This is one of those cases... Normally you have a fixed amount of time (IN Michigan it is 3 days) to change your mine, 100% refund under those conditions,  In other states,, The amount of time varies, Might be a day, might be a week, I very simply do not know.

Trust that the campground's lawyers will know

But you need to get professional help on issues like this... I'm not even an  amateur this field, just someone who has picked up a bit or piece here and there. 

And the most important piece is "Your millage may vary" or in this case "You may have rights which vary from state to state"

Please note: Another fact I have picked up is sometimes a judge has been known to ignore those time limits on mind changing.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would say it is neither "usual" nor "unusual" to have a one day fee for cancellation, especially close to the arrival date. In busy, heavily booked resorts, it's probably entirely reasonable, but in any case it is up to the business owner to decide on policy. As the campground business gets busier and more complex, policies like this are becoming more and more common and it is probably wise to ask about up front charges and cancellation policy if they do not volunteer the information.

As for retaining all the money and giving only a credit for a future stay, that is a draconian policy and sufficient to make me avoid the place entirely in the future (and also public post a message about it as you have done here). That sort of policy is rare and certainly ought to have been stated by them up front when you made the reservation.
 

Karl

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Sounds to me like they're trying to give new meaning to the terms 'store credit' and 'restocking fee'; things normally reserved for retail stores. :p A cancellation fee when very close to your scheduled arrival date would be fair, but keeping the rest as a non-interest bearing loan is totally unacceptable. What's the name of the park and location?
 

Bob Buchanan

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mfa said:
Is this type of cancellation policy typical for an RV resort?  Is having a hidden cancellation policy typical?

Having developed and marketed an RV park reservation system for the past 10 years -- I can say with a degree of confidence that the policy you ran into is "not" typical. My software allows the park to print whatever "policy" verbiage they want on both the reservation confirmation form and on the registration receipt. Most only require a one day deposit and have a 48 hour cancellation policy -- and that "is" typical.

As pointed out, the policy will vary based on site availability. For example, in Reno during the Hot August Nights weekend - you would be required to post the full stay amount -- but I doubt you would not get a refund if 5 days out. The point is, a park that busy will have a waiting list of folk that will snap up that reservation in a heart beat. Another example is our Moab event. Parks such as that have RVs parked in vacant lots and along fences in the driveways "hoping" someone will cancel.

Examples could also be made for parks that "must" make their profit on such weekends or seasonal time frames so an empty site even for one night with no income is a big no-no to the owner. A number of parks that use my software are now in 5 feet of snow -- while others come summer will be under 115 degree sunshine. But even those parks are more likely to only have a 48 hour, 1 night deposit requirement.

My suggestion would be to follow Wendy's suggestion and do whatever is necessary to let that park know that not giving you back your full deposit would in the long run cost them much more than the amount of that deposit. :mad: ;)
 

KodiakRV

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Karl said:
Sounds to me like they're trying to give new meaning to the terms 'store credit' and 'restocking fee'; things normally reserved for retail stores. :p A cancellation fee when very close to your scheduled arrival date would be fair, but keeping the rest as a non-interest bearing loan is totally unacceptable. What's the name of the park and location?
It is Tanglewood in Sebring, Florida.
 

Wendy

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Looks like a nice park but I don't see a single thing about reservations or cancellations on their website. I also notice that they brag about their 5W Woodall's rating. Perhaps if you called them and threatened to contact Woodall's, Trailer Life, and your credit card company, they would relent and give the refund that's due?

Wendy
 

Tom

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This doesn't look like your average (or above average) campground. Looks more like a zoned community such as TGO where lots are purchased and the owners put the lots into a rental pool. I don't see anything about ownership on their web site though, so this is an assumption on my part.

I wonder if the accepted policies might be different in a situation like this  ???  When we recently stayed at TGO their policy was quite clear - cancellations must be received 72 hours ahead of time. In our case, we had reservations for 7 days and merely needed to announce at registration that we wouldn't be staying the full duration.

I suppose it also depends on how they operate the rental pool. We learned that, at TGO, everyone in the pool shares in the rental fees irrespective of whether their lot is actually rented. Outdoor Resorts in Las Vegas works on a strict rotation. If someone's site is reserved and later canceled, I don't know if that means they miss their turn and they need to wait until all the other lots in the pool have been rented before their lot gets another turn.

However, not letting folks know the policy doesn't seem to be right.
 

utmtman

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Couple of years ago we traveled to Pennsylvania and we made advance reservations.  We were told the camp had full hookups.  When we arrived we found it was only a state campground with nothing but plain campgrounds and they were not much worth visiting.  They refused to refund us any money and said its their policy to keep any money put down and I had paid for not only myself but for another couple and their trailer that went along with us.  On that same trip we cancelled reservations at a RV park in Michigan and they too kept all the money.  Both of these site told me in advance I would get all but the first night back if I cancelled.  But it never happened and I fought this for a year.  I no longer make reservations unless they email me or mail me in writing the refund policy in advance of payment.  Cancellation of the RV park was a week in advance and cancellation at the park was on the day of arrival when we found what we were getting was not as promised.
 

Jerrygroah

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I found out the hard way that "Reserve America" , has a fee for cancellations as well as changing dates. I made a reservation a a Florida state park and then later had to change the dates. The fees for just changing the date was the same as the cost of the camp site. This resulted in my paying full price for the site on the changed date. We old timers that live in Florida get 50% off fees at state campgrounds except electricty. The cancellation fee was the same as the cost of the campsite. All of this took place well in advance of the reserved date.

You pay the fees up front when you make the reservation.

To top it off when we arrived the campground was only about twenty/thirty per cent occupied. So, now I just wing it. Usually there are private campgrounds nearby the state parks and if the state parks are full you can check in at the private grounds.

I now make a phone call directly to campground that I intend to stop at while on the road in the morning usually just before lunch time. The attendants will inform you about availability of sites. If none. we look for an alternate site. Works well for us.

Just for what its worth, Jerry
 

Ned

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We use the Reserve America web site to look for COE campgrounds but never to make reservations.  Our use is strictly to see the campground diagrams and see how many of the sites are non-reservable and then just go and take our chances.  I don't think we've ever failed to get a site without a reservation.  Even the reservable sites are usable if no one has reserved them, noted by the lack of a reservation tag at the site.
 

Wendy

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That's a good tip, Ned. I'd never been to Reserve America because I was never planning on reserving a campsite but now that I've been there, I like the maps and descriptions.

Thanks
Wendy
 

KodiakRV

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I use Reserve America, too, and they are very up-front with their cancellation policy. 

The one reservation with them that I had to cancel was for the busy Topsail Hill Preserve state park here in Florida.  The cancellation fee was a flat fee of only $10 on a bill of $169. 

Full disclosure up-front plus a modest amount -- that's the way to do it.
 
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